Posted by Scott Stolley, Thompson & Knight
In its weekly orders (7/24/15), the Texas Supreme Court issued three per curiam opinions and granted no petitions for review. Click here to read the order list and access the opinions.
The three opinions are:
No. 14-0548, City of Ingleside v. City of Corpus Christi -- This is a boundary dispute between two cities, where Ingleside's jurisdiction encompasses land on the shore side of the Corpus Christi Bay shoreline, while Corpus Christi's jurisdiction includes land extending from the shoreline into the bay. The dispute is about control over wharves, piers, docks, and other objects affixed to Ingleside's shoreline and projecting into the bay. The court of appeals held that the courts have no jurisdiction, because selecting the boundary between political subdivisions is a purely political decision. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the issue requires the court to interpret relevant boundary ordinances, not select the appropriate boundary line.
No. 14-0629, Kay Venture, Ltd. v. Cremona Bistro Corp. -- This is an equitable bill of review to set aside a no-answer default judgment. The petitioners argued that they were not properly served with citation or with notice of the default judgment. They also had to admit, however, that they had failed to update their registered address with the Texas Secretary of State. The plaintiff in the underlying suit put the petitioners' old address on the certificate of last known address, even though the plaintiff had actual knowledge of the petitioners' new address. The Supreme Court held that there was a fact issue, because there was some evidence that the failure to receive notice of the default judgment resulted solely from the plaintiff's failure to properly certify the petitioners' "last known mailing address," and not from any negligence or fault on the petitioners' part.
No. 14-0667, In re Woodfill -- Houston residents filed a petition to have the city council repeal the city's equal-rights ordinance or put the repeal request before the voters in a referendum. Even though the city secretary certified the petition as sufficient, the city council refused to repeal the ordinance or schedule a referendum. The Supreme Court held that, after the city secretary certified the petition, the city council had a ministerial duty to either repeal the ordinance or schedule a repeal referendum.